Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond appeared before an independent disciplinary panel last night charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game contrary to RFU Rule 5.12.
Following the match Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs on Friday 27 October 2017, Diamond gave a broadcast interview during which he allegedly failed to respect the authority of the match referee, Craig Maxwell-Keys.
At the hearing the Sale Sharks Director of Rugby accepted the charges and the panel decided that:
- The remaining three weeks of the suspended sanction imposed on Diamond by a disciplinary panel in February 2017 from entering the playing enclosure or technical area, approaching match officials and communicating or attempting to communicate with match officials before the game, during the game (to include the half-time period) or after the game will be activated. This will take in to account the two games that Diamond stood himself down for on 3 and 10 November 2017.
- The remaining week of that suspension will be served on 19 November 2017 against Leicester Tigers.
- The suspended portion of the fine imposed by the panel in February 2017 (£1500) is activated.
- A further six-week stadium ban is imposed, 50% of which is to be served immediately following Sale Sharks game v Leicester Tigers and includes matches against Northampton Saints, Worcester Warriors and Cardiff Blues in the European competition.
- The stadium ban means no entry to the stadium on match days.
- The remaining 50% of the stadium ban is suspended until the end of the 18/19 season and may be activated in the event of any further similar offending.
Chairman of the panel Ian Unsworth QC said: “The panel were disappointed that Mr Diamond was before them once again charged with acting in a way which undermines the values of the game. The comments made in the post-match interview clearly and obviously undermined the referee and were an attack upon his character, competence and integrity. Those comments struck at the heart of the game’s core values. The game is built upon respect. There must be respect for officials.
“The panel made it clear that the continuing behaviour of Mr Diamond is unacceptable and, if it continues, may lead a future panel to consider deducting points from Sale Sharks.”
The independent disciplinary panel comprised of Ian Unsworth QC (chairman), Dr Barry O’Driscoll and Tony Wheat.